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  • A design for small, general purpose, low earth orbit satellites

    Paper ID



    • Austin W. Boyd
    • Allen E. Fuhs


    Space System Academy Group, Naval Postgraduate School






    Space Power Systems (SPS) have to overcome two hurdles: (1) to find an attractive design-, manufacturing- and assembly concept and (2) to have available a space transportation system that can provide economical logistic support during the construction and operational phases. An initial system feasibility study, some five years ago, was based on a reference system that used terrestri al resources only and was based partially on electric propulsion systems. The conclusion was: it is feasible but not yet economically competitive with other options. This study is based on terrestrial and extraterrestrial resources and on chemical (LHVLOX) pro- pUTsion systems. These engines are available from the Space Shuttle production line and require small changes only. Other so-called advanced propulsion systems investigated did not prove economically superior if lunar LOX is available! We assume that a Shuttle derived Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle (HLLV) will become available around the turn of the century and that this will be used to establish a research base on the lunar surface. This lunar base has the potential to grow into a lunar factory producing LOX and construction materials for supporting among other projects also the construction of space power systems in geostationary orbit. A model was developed to simulate the logistics support of such an operation for a 50 year life cycle. After 50 years 111 SPS units with 5 GW each and an availability of 90 % will produce 100 x 5 = 500 GW. The model comprises 60 equations and requires 29 assumptions of the parameter involved. 60 state variables calculated with the 60 equations mentioned above are given on an annual basis and as averages for the 50 year life cycle. Recycling of defective parts in geostationary orbit is one of the features of the model. The state-of-the-art with respect to SPS technology is introduced as a variable Mg mass/MW electric power delivered. If the space manufacturing facility, a maintenance and repair facility for operational units and a space logistics operation center are included in the GEO complex, the standard computer run indicates a value of 17 Mg/MW in the 1st year and 7.1 Mg/MW in the 50th year. Total personnel requirements in GEO are 245 (1st) and 600 in the 50th year. The average mass flow from the Moon to GEO is 55 000 Mg p.a., from the earth come 42 000 Mg p.a. These flows require about 500 lunar bus launches and 540 HLLV average launches p.a. - The use of lunar resources reduce the logistic cost to 67 % compared to an all earth resources scenario!